Overton’s 400

Dale Jr. Download: Kyle Busch’s antics are good for NASCAR

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There is an old adage that says there is no such thing as bad press so long as they spell your name correctly. Kyle Busch would seem to adhere to that saying – and as it turns out, apparently so does Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“Whether you like Kyle Busch or not, it doesn’t really matter,” Earnhardt said on this week’s Dale Jr. Download podcast. “If we can get that every week, it’s what we need – no matter who’s in the mix and creating that drama.”

Busch taunted fans by wiping imaginary tears from his eyes on the frontstretch his rough-and-tumble, last-lap duel with Kyle Larson for the win last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I’m not saying that made me a huge Kyle Busch fan or a bigger fan of Kyle Busch” Earnhardt said. “I’m saying that what he did is necessary in sports and entertainment. Even though he stirs that pot and aggravates more fans, that’s better than nothing happening and us going home bored to death.”

And it was the immediacy of the frontstretch interview that allowed for added drama.

“All the theatrics don’t happen if we interview him in Victory Lane. … People complain about the double interview – some fans do not like the winner getting interviewed twice, but you don’t get what we got … without that happening. We need that interview on the front straightaway because it’s instantaneous.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

Dale Jr. Download: Kurt Busch’s reaction to getting passed was surprising

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Kurt Busch has worked hard to show NASCAR fans a new side to his personality by engaging them with a friendlier attitude, according to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“Kurt seems to have changed over the last couple of years, particularly since he’s gotten married,” Earnhardt said Thursday on the Dale Jr. Download podcast. “Over the last several months, his activities on social media have shown a side of him which is friendly, fun to be around, carefree – a bit of an evolution from the original Kurt that we know from way back.”

MORE: Kevin Harvick: “Every point matters”

And then came an unguarded moment at the conclusion of Stage 2 of the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. When he was passed by Kevin Harvick coming off turn 4, Busch lashed out at his teammate for taking the stage win from him.

Earnhardt didn’t expect that reaction.

“I was surprised that he had that point of view. And then I was surprised that he shared it with his team, because I’m, sure they were as shocked as the rest of the world to have heard it.”

Stage points – and more importantly, the playoff point comes with a stage win – are important to every driver in the field.

“Kurt’s reaction to that (pass), like come out of left field. I could understand, like ‘darn; I got beat’ or ‘my bad guys, I chose poorly in 3 and 4 on what to do.’ … But I would never have expected Jimmie Johnson or a teammate to just not race and try to win that stage. Points are just so important.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

Dale Jr. Download: In praise of Ryan Joseph Newman

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The final lap of the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway has been replayed, discussed, and dissected, but “let’s not lose focus of the true hero of this moment,” Mike Davis, co-host of the Dale Jr. Download podcast said on Thursday. “Because none of this happens without Ryan Joseph Newman being Ryan Joseph Newman.”

The question of how hard lapped cars are supposed the race the leader hasn’t been answered by a long shot. Drivers and experts have weighed in, but one thing is certain, if Newman is behind the wheel of the car the leaders are coming around to lap – the conversation is going to continue.

“I was trying to explain to people how Ryan races people really hard,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He carries that as a badge of honor. Kyle Busch is pissed – I’m sure. Anybody would be. I would be pissed if Ryan Newman did that to me. But that’s Ryan. Immediately you’re like freakin’ mad and then like a lap later, you’re like ‘Well, that’s Ryan.’

“He’s there thinking, ‘these are all positions for me man. I don’t care that that’s the leader.’”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.

NASCAR America: Overlooked performances from Chicagoland

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Every week on NASCAR America, Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill discuss overlooked performances from the previous Cup race.

Tuesday, they looked at how Bubba Wallace and Kasey Kahne did in the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Wallace finished 23rd in the race, but Kligerman said this is notable after how poorly Wallace fared the previous week at Sonoma Raceway.

“They were terrible, I know because I actually out qualified Bubba Wallace and he ran behind me the whole time and I just knew he was struggling,” Kligerman said. “To go to a track he’s a little more comfortable at and get a solid top-25 finish, this is what you want to see out of this race team.”

Wallace and the No. 43 team head to Daytona this weekend where Wallace finished second in February’s Daytona 500. Since the 500, he was only one finish better than 16th (eighth at Texas).

“The expectations for this team have to be when they are on their best days they’re fighting for a top 15 and a top 20,” Kligerman said.Watch the above video for more on Kahne and his crew chief, Jon Leonard.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Chicagoland Speedway

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It was very hot Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway and there were fireworks on the track and on team radios.

The Overton’s 400 will be remembered for the last-lap battle between Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson.

See how the race and that battle played out via the best radio traffic in the latest Scan All.

Here are some of the highlights.

— “What a (expletive) nightmare” – Clint Bowyer after his series of visits to pit road for speeding penalties in Stage 1.

— “I don’t really care. It’s almost like we’re designing these cars to see how slow we can run.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. venting frustration to crew chief Brian Pattie.

— “Holy (expletive), he put him in the wall. We’re still going, right?” – Bowyer’s spotter, Brett Griffin, after Larson made contact with Busch exiting Turn 2 on the last lap.

— “That’s why you never give up guys, never give up.” – Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, after Busch took the checkered flag and the win.

Watch the above video for the full Scan All feature.